The battle of Willems was an unsuccessful French attempt to continue their offensive in western Flanders, which had begun successfully with the capture of Menin and a victory over the Austrians at Mouscron.
The Honour is borne on the Guidon of the 7th Hussars.
The 7th (Queen’s Own) Light Dragoons played a dashing role in this severe defeat of the Revolutionary French.
During the conflict, the cavalry was detailed to attack a weak point in the French line, which immediately formed into defensive squares. There then followed about nine successive charges against these squares which whilst not breaking them forced them to retire.
In the subsequent confusion, the Allied cavalry was able to effect a charge on both sides of the enemy at once and managed to break through some of the squares, at which stage the French fled the scene. Thirteen guns were captured in pursuit.
It was the same story at Mouvaux some days later when The 7th rescued their Colonel who had been captured during the fray by the enemy.
The campaign ended a year later and The Regiment went home for four peaceful years, during which their most celebrated patrons joined, Lord Henry Paget, later The Marquis of Anglesey and John Gaspard Le Marchant, the founder of the Royal Military College in Sandhurst.
Here it remained until the ill-fated Helder expedition was formed in 1799. The Queen’s Own landed in The Netherlands in September of that year and were engaged in the Battle of Egmont-op-Zee, where they succeeded in repulsing enemy cavalry attacks on the British Horse Artillery.
When winter approached circumstances compelled the Duke of York to retreat and the cavalry was engaged in covering this movement.
Hostilities ceased in October. The Netherlands was again evacuated, the Regiment reaching Canterbury in December.